We endeavor to prevent quality issues by engaging in risk management activities for reducing quality risks at Group companies both in Japan and overseas, in order to prevent quality risks from materializing.
So as to ensure that delivery time and cost are not prioritized over quality, we have established the order of priority for decision making in the performance of duties as SCQDE*1. By repeatedly informing and educating employees, we are fostering an environment that will prevent hesitation in judgment. The same concept is applied in product R&D, and is fundamental to all decisions that require problem solving or response to potential risks.We have also established front-loading system guidelines, whereby the design,R&D, manufacturing, quality assurance, research and sales departments identify risks and problems that may be considered during production or mass production, and deliberate on improvements and measures. Expert reviews and customer evaluations are conducted at each stage of the design and prototyping, and proper execution of new businesses is ensured by approval before the transition to mass production.
As a manufacturer, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, high quality products. We therefore implement a range of quality and safety initiatives, as a precautionary approach and to ensure compliance with the law and other applicable regulations. We have also developed a set of regulations for the control of hazardous chemical substances contained in our products. As well as ensuring that we do not release any products containing hazardous substances to customers, including via group companies, we are committed to disclosing product information when deemed necessary.
We make every effort to guarantee safety when transporting products that require additional safety measures in transit, such as sulfuric acid. Specific measures include ➀ avoiding contact with other substances, ➁ using protective equipment when loading and unloading products, ➂ preventing leaks or dispersal from containers, and ➃ providing drivers with SDS clearly outlining measures in the event of an accident.
Providing safety information on our own products is vitally important, to ensure product safety further along the supply chain. We therefore attach Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to Mitsubishi Materials products so as to effectively disclose and convey information on chemical substances.
We have formulated a set of regulations for the control of hazardous chemical substances contained in our products, and continue to reinforce management and ensure legal compliance in relation to chemical substances contained in our products. We register, maintain and manage chemical substances based on the Revised Chemical Substances Control Law*2 We successfully completed the registration of substances covered under REACH regulations*3 by September 2017, and currently maintain and manage those substances. We are also gathering information on and responding to chemical-related laws and regulations in other countries as needed.
We provide Group companies with the latest information through quality liaison conferences and quality meetings, and give them advice on compliance with all applicable legislation.
We carry out a review during R&D at four key stages, when exploring areas of R&D, conducting R&D and trial production, conducting mass production trials, and commercializing products. We repeatedly confirm and meticulously examine all of our products from the very beginning, including checking for the use of hazardous chemical substances, guaranteeing that products meet customers’ requirements and ensuring legal compliance, always taking into consideration the safety of products and processes as we engage in development works.
The Group has declared November 1 to be our Group-wide Quality Review Day so that the quality issues that occurred in 2017 will not be forgotten and the same issue will not occur again.
In fiscal 2021, this is an opportunity to review quality issues by watching a video message from the President and a video of lessons learned from the series of quality issues. It is also an opportunity to verify that the products and services provided to customers at each site do not have quality issues.
We have also implemented various initiatives, including the verification of the effectiveness of the measures for preventing the recurrence of complaints, and a review of the standards and procedures.
The front-loading system and automation of inspection equipment were posted in the company newsletter, Material, along with examples of initiatives at Group companies, to improve quality awareness and share information regarding best practices.
We operate in accordance with the “Fundamental Quality Provisions at Mitsubishi Materials Group” in order to enhance governance relating to quality. Under the quality provisions, we have established a Group-wide "Quality Policy" that aims to provide first-class products and to obtain customer satisfaction, and established and operate the "Quality Control Guidelines at Mitsubishi Materials Group" to complement the Group Quality Policy. We have established and are striving to maintain our quality management, from design and development to production, shipping and sales, for all organizations involved in quality improvement of products and services provided by us.
We handle a wide variety of products at the domestic and overseas sites of our Group companies, and it is important to share the information related to quality management.
At this meeting, the Quality Management Dept. provides and shares the latest information on our quality.
Participants can then share examples of improvement at each site and hold group discussions on specific topics.
The purpose is to deepen the understanding of quality representatives and bring back the shared information and the outcomes from discussion to each site to enable further improvements.
We have also set up a Quality Liaison Conference comprised of the persons in charge of quality from the Quality Management Dept., each in-house company, and others, in our efforts to enhance our governance.
At the quality liaison conference, the progress and status of quality training, quality audits, the automation of testing equipment, and quality initiatives at each in-house company, including Group companies, are reported. The necessary information is then shared by participants.
Moreover, as necessary, Quality Meetings are held to share the information on quality at the Quality Meetings, details of support are individually presented, such as confirming / discussing with sites the status of quality management and measures to enhance governance related to quality. The Quality Audits as a part of the Theme Audits led by the Internal Audit Dept. are conducted. The purpose of the quality audit is to confirm by objective evidence that there is no quality fraud and that effective quality management is implemented. It also aims to identify issues and improvements related to quality, and to provide an opportunity for the audited sites to make continuous improvements.
Given the reflection that Group-wide crisis sharing was not working with a poor sense of ownership when the quality issues occurred, quality training is conducted for each level of younger employees, middle employees and managers, to continue to change their mindset on quality.The quality management system (QMS) based on ISO 9001 is fundamental to our quality management and quality assurance.
ISO9001 internal auditor training is conducted regularly for newly appointed auditors.
In fiscal 2021, 11 sessions were held for Japan sites, with a total of 187 trainees. .
In addition to this, as of fiscal 2021, we also launched a new training for experienced internal auditors to maintain and improve their auditing skill and capabilities.
Four sessions were held for Japan sites, and one at an overseas site, with a total of 55 trainees.
Our Metalworking Solutions Company has 10 manufacturing sites in Europe, the United States and Asia, which manufacture high quality products in conjunction with our Japan sites. To accommodate the expansion of production at overseas sites, we provide continuous technical instruction by instructors from Japan sites, and had been actively accepting oversea trainees in Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic, providing instruction on topics such as maintenance, production technologies and inspection standard.
This initiative over a number of years has resulted in spontaneous activities by local employees overseas, e.g. kaizen (improvement) meetings and reviews of QC systems. Their motivation to acquire new skills and technologies is driving improvements in quality.
Also, electronic components business, a part of Advanced Products Company, was expanded to Southeast Asia early and has transferred the production to the region.
Today, in Southeast Asia, we have a total of five manufacturing sites of subsidiaries and subcontractors dedicated to the business, and have worked closely with the Ceramics plant in Japan as the “mother plant” to develop a business scheme.
In copper and copper alloy business 14 sites in total locate in Europe, the US and Asia, enhancing an alliance with relevant Japan sites and the head office to work on maintenance and improvement of quality management.
In particular, to reduce customer complaints about product quality, we need to encourage sharing of information, and maintain and raise the level of quality management.We conduct multifaceted activities aimed at raising the awareness and skill of local staff and expats from Japan, including Advanced Products Company quality management meetings, small group activities and presentation support for problem-solving through guidance provided by consultants, and web conferences held on a timely basis.
As the result of efforts to implement and strengthen prevention measures for recurrence within the Group’s quality management, we have improved both quality awareness and control level across the Group and various measures have been disseminated across the Group. In order to prevent quality issues from reoccurring in the future, recurrence prevention measures for series of quality issues are being incorporated into quality management systems such as ISO9001, and are continuously implemented at each site.